Gallipoli Village Museums
At Kabatepe on the Gallipoli Peninsula the newly opened and monumental ‘Simulation and Information’ Centre presents the Turkish state’s epic and somewhat partial version of the 1915 campaign as a dramatized recreation using 3D, high-tech sound and light effects, holograms and surround screens.
Something more makeshift but altogether moving is on offer at the numerous private museums in villages like Seddulbahir, Alçıtepe and Bıgalı where simple displays of war relics retrieved from the battlefields over the decades – buttons, coins, bullets, boots, biscuit tins, lockets, shell cases, rum jars, buckles, pick axes and a great deal else – constitute powerful evocations of the campaign. The outstanding collection is in the village of Büyük Anafarta.
At his simple farmstead in Büyük Anafarta Özay Gündoğan’s magnificently varied display of period battlefield kit includes items powerfully redolent of Edwardian Britain like tea strainers, false teeth, shoe horns, inkwells and officers’ whistles. The captioning, largely the work of local Australian historian Bill Sellars, is superb by Turkish standards. ‘It is likely,’ to give one example, ‘that for hundreds of men the sound of a whistle such as this was the last sound they ever heard.’ What more need be said?
The museums do not have websites nor even addresses but they are easily found in the villages. They keep irregular but long hours; it is rare to find them closed. The entrance fee is a lira or two.